Black Locust trees (Robinia pseudoacacia, also called the false Acacia) are abundant in our Sierra Foothills, probably brought by the Europeans in the mining days. On my recent trip to Southern Cali I discovered them in my old stomping grounds, Topanga CA!!
They are a fast growing hardwood, used for bow making, and their legume-y vanilla scented blossoms are EDIBLE!! They taste like sweet pea flowers, nutty with a sweet hint from the nectar inside. They have a short showy bloom phase about now, late spring for about two weeks. You can just snack on them like popcorn, or sprinkle them as garnish on top of a light bowl of cattail soup (see Living Wild book for recipe). See here for identification: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/black_locust.htm
I love to make beverages of all sorts. (Come to my QUENCH class in June for more sipping zippy delights!) My latest concoction is a Black Locust Blossom Vermouth. It lends a sweet floral pea flavor to the mild lemony taste of dry vermouth as a warm spring or summer sipping low alcohol beverage.
- You will need:
- bottles, 12-16 oz
- Dry vermouth, (or even sake!)
- Lots of Locust blossoms
Simply gather your blossoms and pluck them off of their stems. Stuff to nearly full a bottle of your choice, with the blossoms, clear is nice to see the blossoms soaking. I like to use old GT Kombucha bottles, labels removed. Then pour vermouth to the top.
Label your bottle and let sit for 3-6 weeks. Strain, saving some of the blossoms to garnish. It is lovely over a bit of ice. Locust Blossom vermouth is a delightful way to preserve the tastes of spring to share with friends.